As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, so does the search for romantic gifts and gestures – and one thoughtful option is just a few songs away.
A mixtape or CD with tracks tailored to match your romantic interest’s taste makes for a good present.
Yet, with thousands of love songs to choose from, many over played, compiling the perfect playlist might be easier said than done.
The Oracle suggests six songs to start off your Valentine’s Day playlist.
Whether you’re confessing a crush or reaffirming your affections, “Want” by San Francisco trio Jawbreaker makes for an inspired, energetic addition to any romantic playlist.
As the opening track on the band’s 1990 debut album “Unfun,” it introduced the world to singer-guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach, a rare introspective voice in the punk community.
The tune includes shrouded turns of phrase like “chunk of heart destroyed by quiet” and “my secret’s come undone” that should encourage multiple listens by love interests.
Yet, Adam Pfahler’s drumbeats and Chris Bauermeister’s bass line then propel “Want” into a chorus that couldn’t offer a more straightforward romantic declaration: “I want you.”
– Jimmy Geurts
“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” Neutral Milk Hotel
From Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 album of the same name, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” stands out as a unique musical representation of love that blinds one to the world’s harsh ways.
The bridge has a tone of physical passion and deep yearning that is intensified by singer-songwriter Jeff Mangum’s voice. His screeching and wailing makes apparent the pain present in deep love.
From there, the song returns to its opening line – “What a beautiful face I have found in this place that is circling all around the sun” – before ending with another reference to death.
The song’s construction, along with its tone and lyrical content, makes it a love song unlike any other.
– Corin LaPointe-Aitchison
“King of Spain,” The Tallest Man on Earth
The pain and gain in realizing love for someone or wanting someone has never been more beautifully depicted in song than The Tallest Man on Earth’s “King of Spain.”
In it, Swedish folk troubadour Kristian Matsson sings about love’s simultaneous powers of transformation and desconstruction.
Though his sophomore full-length “The Wild Hunt” offers an overall recollection of love in his life, “King of Spain” is the glue that holds the album together.
His lyrics remind listeners that love can be tricky – simply “offering a ride” could lead to the instant, fiery desire to be someone’s lover – but the emotion can also make you feel like the king of Spain.
– Victoria Casal-Data
“I Would Die 4 U,” Prince and the Revolution
Even if Prince is singing in the name of unrequited love, “I Would Die 4 U” offers a welcome dose of funk to your romantic playlist right from the opening bass riff.
The last single from Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain” soundtrack, the song was supposed to be a throwaway track but remains one of the most intimate and soul-bearing songs of his career.
In his unconventional fashion, Prince offers the sentiment that he is much more than just a significant other by singing, “I’m not your lover, I’m not your friend, I am something that you’ll never comprehend.”
The tune is sparse and incredibly restrained for a Prince track, but that’s all to make its point even more concise.
– Benjamin Wright
“There is a Light That Never Goes Out,” The Smiths
What could be more romantic than getting hit by a double-decker bus with your beau?
Nothing, according to this romantic staple by The Smiths that has since successfully crooned its way into fans’ hearts.
First featured on 1986’s “The Queen is Dead” but not released as a single until 1992, the song has been weaved into books such as “Trainspotting” and films such as “(500) Days of Summer.”
Sweepingly melodic and humorous, “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” is perfect for adventurous nights out, followed by a quiet one in.
– Sthephany Delgado
“I Was Made for You,” She & Him
“I Was Made for You” is as sweet as a cherry cordial in a heart-shaped chocolate box.
The song comes from 2008’s “Volume One” by She & Him, which includes musician M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel.
Deschanel’s playful voice could make anyone blush when she chirps out lyrics like, “I’ve been waiting for a long, long time for a boy like you.”
The song perfectly captures the giddy feeling of catching that special someone’s
smile, and it plays out like that most-cherished elementary school Valentine card.
– Damon Lord